25 November 2013
17 November 2013
16 November 2013
Introducing: Nicolas from Plusquellec, Bretagne, France
This guy carried his own sleeping gear, i.e. two backpacks. I remember walking through some huge vineyard early in the morning and seeing him waking up. Right in the middle of the vineyard.
This day I beat my own personal record in low-spending. I spent a total of 12,10 EUR. 8 EUR below my daily limit. Heck yeah.
I also longed for being alone. Unbelievable: the Camino is a kind of journey that leaves you alone a lot; it even makes you suffer completely on your own. When you happen to walk with no company and the sun is burning your skin for hours and your water reservoir is already dry. Some people long for loneliness, "to get some rest from the usual noise of everyday life". It's completely the other way round in my case though.
And yet, this huge albergue in Puente La Reina (100+ spots) made me wish I'd been left alone. Actually, there is something appalling about the crowd in general, right?
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15 November 2013
13 November 2013
The mountains are over; however, we remain in a zone of many ups and downs, which can get really exhausting. Just add the blazing sun and, well, you're there. Sweating a lot. Swearing at the cars passing by. Why the hell do they drive so close the edge of the road.
A quick look into my Travel Diary. I put down one interesting thing: The flies here in Larrasoaña seem to be a separate ethnic group, I suppose. The place was just full of them.
That's the end of the day. The beginning, however, goes like this: it was a cool, clear morning. When we left the village of Roncesvalles behind, the trail led us into the woods. We all received a blessing from a priest passing by. Later, we had our first north-Spain-style breakfast: coffee and empanadilla. Check it out. Empanadilla (although in its many variants) would be my principal nutrition during the next four weeks.
I was glad to leave into the cold mist of morning. I was glad to leave the huge Hospital de Peregrinos so full of foreign volunteers, of which few spoke decent Spanish. The Complaint Form would grow over time, I promise.
Introducing: GPS map & profile; a priest [ES] and Peng [ZH].
12 November 2013
Day 1. St. Jean-Pied-de-Port (FR) to Roncesvalles (ES).
A walk across the Pyrenees. Heck of a long trip (circa 27 kms over the mountains). I was going to publish a map & a terrain profile from my GPS, however at some point already approaching Roncesvalles, it said AVERAGE SPEED: 500 km/h, ALTITUDE: 8500 m… Well, I decided to turn it off by then. It worked ok later on though.
I forgot to pack my anti-sun shirt, left it in the hostel. So after about 20 minutes of steep climb up the hill… well, I had to return to the town. It felt like a symbol. Don’t you feel too much attached to your things? Well, at this time I prefered the attachement than being burned by the merciless August sun, to be honest. I feched the shirt; I left many, many things behind further on though.
First encounter with the fellow pilgrims. Car pilgrims too – see below. This is deadly, these mountains. Well, and what did you expect folks, like, a nice, flat highway?…
And I met these two fellas. Alex did not speak any Spanish. Alvaro did not speak any English. I was looking at them over my shoulder till noon, more or less. I still don’t know how were they communicating all that time. Then, buying chocolate at a small stand near the trail, I told Alvaro he wasn’t to get any beer there, as it was still France after all… That’s how we became friends.
Introducing: Alex (CAN), Alvaro (ES) and Virgin Mary of Biakorri (ES)
Blurred and shaken images: by the extreme nationalists who think car windshields are there to be shattered and that LGBT people should be eradicated. That’s how some neoNazis think the most important Polish national celebration should be honoured.
Russian embassy was assaulted too. Democracy was insulted (again). People in the picture by no means are extremists. This is an image from an official march, led by the Polish president, Bronisław Komorowski.
09 November 2013
What's Camino: Way of St. James
Recommendations: "The Way" movie; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441912/
Traditionally, if not at your door, the Way of St. James starts in St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, French Basque country; just where the first serious slopes of the Pyrenees start.
I had to get there from Madrid, Spain. It was a 5-hour drive with a bunch of French guys (thanks Michel - the guy with a map up there - and blablacar.com).
Then, me and my backpack were left in the middle of town celebration going on. Free food and traditional Basque outfits. My Camino was about to start the next day, 8 am sharp.
Now, here this is how “The Camino Accounts” starts.